You might know that HDL cholesterol is the good kind of cholesterol, but there's a lot more to learn about what it can do for you. And you can't just assume that you have a sufficient level of it in your body and leave it at that. Have you ever tried to check the level of bad cholesterol you have? If you've got a very high level of LDL cholesterolâ¬"the bad stuffâ¬" you probably also have a level of HDL that is very high, too.
Only a few years ago, the findings of various studies showed that low levels of HDL cholesterol were correlated with heart disease. What that means is that it doesn't matter if the overall level of blood cholesterol is normal; if you have a low level of HDL in your blood you'll still be at risk for heart disease. A normal level of HDL for men is 40mg/dL and for women, 50mg/dL.
The question you're probably asking is this: what makes this cholesterol "good"? Well, it's not really the cholesterol itself that is beneficial, but rather the "drive." HDL molecules are composed of lipids, protein, and a kind of cholesterol that wipes down artery walls, removing the build-up of cholesterol. Then it moves it to the liver where it gets eliminated via the gastrointestinal tract.
It's concerning that while low levels of HDL can be a big risk factor for patients, there are some doctors that focus mainly on helping them lower their total and bad cholesterol levels. By doing so, they neglect the level of HDL in the blood, which is equally important.
Who is most in need of increasing their levels of HDL cholesterol? The answer: men who have an HDL level under 40mg/dL as well as women with a level under 50mg/dL. Both men and women with these numbers should try to increase their HDL levels even if they have total and bad cholesterol in the normal range.
What are some ways to increase HDL levels?
* One of the best ways to boost good cholesterol is to do physical exercise. Try to do any activity that raises your heart rate during a 30 minute period. It can be anything: jogging, walking, swimming, or cycling, for example.
* If you lose weight, it will do more than just help in increasing your HDL levels; it will also lower your LDL level as well.
* You don't need to become a vegetarian or choke down bland foods to improve your diet. You should just try to eliminate high cholesterol foods that you eat. You can always find substitutes that are equally tasty.
* Leave the pack behind. By quitting smoking you can boost the level of HDL cholesterol by as much as 20%.
These are but a few methods to help increase good cholesterol. If you're still having trouble doing so, talk to your doctor. Being aware is the first step towards a healthier you.